The Seduction of
Misty Mundae
U.S.A. / 2004
Directed by Michael Raso
Starring
Misty Mundae
Julian Wells
Allanah Rhodes
Color / 83 Minutes / Not Rated
Format: DVD (R1 - NTSC / 2-disc set)
E.I./Seduction Cinema
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at Alternative Cinema
Review by
Brian Lindsey
 
6
    9   10 = Highest Rating  
Arguably the first bona fide cult screen siren of the DVD age, Misty Mundae is not the conventional B-movie babe of yore. She isn't a surgically enhanced blonde bimbo with an ass you could bounce quarters off of. I find her reminiscent of Swedish sex starlet Marie Liljedahl, only with a retro 'hippy chick' sensibility... Just because she has the face of an angel doesn't mean she wouldn't twist up a killer 'J'. (The weed, of course, would be primo.) Fans of this sexy, talented actress will certainly want to see her in this latest E.I./Seduction Cinema release, an early starring role that sat on the shelf for almost four years.
    Misty plays (no surprise here) "Misty", a depressed and uncommunicative teenager who's come to scenic Pompton Lakes, New Jersey to stay a week with her hip, twentysomething Aunt Inga (Julian Wells). That first night she accidentally stumbles upon Inga masturbating. Unnoticed, Misty continues to watch, becoming aroused... and confused. Next morning Inga breaks the ice with the awkward teen by taking her on a shopping excursion, after which comes the inevitable try-it-on-at-home "fashion show" montage. (Here, at least, the gals are seen slipping in and out of normal street clothes; were this a Fred Olen Ray film it would all miraculously be lingerie.) Gradually Misty opens up to Inga, seeking her advice and opinions on matters of sex. A virgin, Misty is naive and innocent to say the least; she's never even really been on a date before. Her poor self esteem is matched only by her admiration and fascination with Inga's worldly confidence. For her part Inga is very understanding, even as the questions become increasingly personal. She encourages Misty to explore her own body and seek pleasure with others, to find out what she likes and doesn't like. After Misty's disappointing date with the boy next door, she shows the girl how to pleasure herself. Further questions lead Inga to confide that she's bisexual, and she grants Misty's request to let her watch as she and her lover (Allanah Rhodes) get it on.
    Aunt Inga doesn't yet know that Misty has been having steamy lesbian fantasies about her. But that's okay it turns out she's not really related to Misty. She and Misty's mom are just close friends. (And ex-lovers?) Before the week is over, Misty and Inga will forge a bond that's physical as well as emotional...
    Director Michael Raso's self-styled "coming-of-age dramatic fantasy", while very nicely lensed for such a small DTV feature, just wouldn't work if not for the performances of Mundae and Wells. With only seven actors in the entire cast (only three of which have speaking parts), the movie pretty much rests on their supple shoulders. Besides being quite uninhibited in the sex scenes, Wells strikes the right balance with her character; Inga comes off as genuinely concerned and caring, not as some decadent nympho taking advantage of a naive teenager. Mundae, in her early 20s when the film was made but who could easily pass for 16 or 17, is totally believable as an inexperienced girl on the threshold of womanhood, eager to explore her sexuality even if some of the situations she finds herself in exist (for the most part) only in the realm of softcore erotica. She has a lot of tight close-ups; the reactions in her expressive eyes and on her angelic face tell us more about what her character is thinking and feeling than any dialog ever could. (She's great at faking an orgasm, too.)
    Shot in 2001 but not assembled into a completed film until some three years later, The Seduction of Misty Mundae turned out to be a prescient move on the part of E.I. honcho Raso. Not just wanting to take the director's chair as a change of pace from running the company, Raso desired to make a more serious erotic film whose tone would contrast sharply with the fetish horrors and fluffy softcore spoofs E.I. was becoming known for. The production marked the first time Mundae and Wells ever worked together; right from the start the ladies demonstrated an onscreen rapport that would serve E.I. well in future films such as Dr. Jekyll & Mistress Hyde and Lust for Dracula. And four years ago Mundae was only just emerging as a fan favorite. Now, with the release of the film on DVD, her worshippers can see her in a very intimate dramatic role from the early phase of her career.

Letterboxed at 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, E.I./Seduction Cinema's DVD looks and sounds great don't expect to encounter any of the A/V issues typically associated with microbudget DTV features. An audio commentary with Raso, recorded in the summer of 2004, largely avoids technical details, instead focusing on his inspirations, working with Mundae and Wells, and the aesthetics of erotic cinema. (Tony Marsiglia, editor of the film and a director in his own right, serves as moderator and sounding board.) A trio of brief featurettes provides behind-the-scenes glimpses of the production, to include a promotional photo shoot with Julian Wells disrobing in an autumnal outdoor setting. A ragged-looking black and white "Retro Seduction" stag short from the 1960s, tossed in as a bonus, features a woman doing a striptease while puffing on a cigarette. Almost all the E.I./Seduction Cinema discs I've seen to date have been stuffed to the gills with trailers but this time out a somewhat smaller roster of promos is offered, limited strictly to Misty Mundae titles. Along with trailers for Seduction of Misty Mundae, Roxanna and Lust for Dracula are previews for the forthcoming Erotic Diary of Misty Mundae, Chantal and Sinful.
    I was pleasantly surprised to find a second disc in the package, which was not advertised. As with E.I.'s edition of Dr. Jekyll & Mistress Hyde, Disc 2 is an audio CD of the eclectic soundtrack (by The Pink Delicates, a two-man group that includes the film's co-writer). Not only are musical cues from Seduction of Misty included, but also tracks from the yet-to-be-released Curious Obessions.
9/20/05

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